Sustainable Infrastructure


We advance the global debate on innovative infrastructure solutions and empower our partners to develop infrastructure that serves both people and planet.

EMSD serves as an independent knowledge platform and incubator for sustainable infrastructure development in and with emerging markets. We built our work on years of multi-stakeholder engagement with change makers from the private, public and financial sectors to advance the global debate on how to put in place infrastructure that meets the demands of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. To our partners, we offer technical expertise, financial support and the reach of GIZ´s global network to help implement and scale innovative solutions for sustainable infrastructure development.


To help develop infrastructure that serves both people and planet

Inadequate transportation and energy networks, a lack of basic sanitation facilities and insufficient communication infrastructure still affect the well-being of billions of people. According to the G20’s Global Infrastructure Hub, the world is facing a USD 15 trillion gap between projected investment and the demand for adequate global infrastructure by 2040An additional USD 2.7 trillion would be necessary to meet Paris Agreement targets by 2030. It is therefore imperative to invest more in infrastructure which lays the very foundation on which societies can build the prospects of a more prosperous and inclusive future. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly clear that infrastructure can also incur negative effects on people and planet, including through involuntary resettlements or climate change. In both positive ways and negative, infrastructure touches upon all dimensions of sustainability: economic, institutional, social and environmental. Without the right infrastructure in place, the international community will thus be unable to meet the goals it set itself with the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement.


Scaling innovations to meet the sustainable infrastructure implementation challenge

Over the last years, EMSD has been working to shift the policy narrative from simply “more infrastructure” to “more sustainable infrastructure”. In global fora like the G20 engagement groups, EMSD supported policy input on emerging economies’ specific infrastructure requirements. At the country level, EMSD facilitated the development of innovative tools and strategies, including sustainability guidelines for Chinese contractors’ overseas investment. Today, policy makers increasingly recognise the need for sustainable infrastructure. In addition, a growing number of innovative tools and strategies has been developed to support the development of sustainable infrastructure. Yet, an implementation gap remains: there is an insufficient uptake of sustainability tools and strategies in practice.

It is this “implementation challenge” that EMSD’s work on sustainable infrastructure currently centres around. The challenge is in part due to an information gap regarding existing sustainability solutions. This is why EMSD developed the “Sustainable Infrastructure Tool Navigator”, an online platform that helps users find the right sustainability tool from amongst 50+ rating systems, principles and project finance tools. To analyse what hampers uptake of such existing solutions and to devise strategies for their scaling, EMSD continues to convene experts from academia, policy, finance and infrastructure developers in multi-stakeholder dialogues. Here, GIZ recently partnered with the Global Solutions Initiative to organize the Solutions Lab “Scalable Solutions for Sustainable Infrastructure”. Finally, EMSD stands ready to support implementation pilots in emerging and developing countries with a view to scale sustainability tools and strategies across regions.

Learn more about EMSD’s work on Sustainable Infrastructure


Navigate 50+ Rating Systems, High-Level Principles and Guidelines

The Sustainable Infrastructure Tool Navigator

The Sustainable Infrastructure Tool Navigator – a web-based platform – helps project teams, public authorities and financiers to find the right sustainable infrastructure tool from amongst 50+ rating systems, principles and project finance tools.


Scaling Up Sustainable Infrastructure in Mexico with Banobras and IDB

Scaling Up Sustainable Infrastructure in Mexico with Banobras and IDB

Since 2019, EMSD and the Mexican development bank Banobras have deepened their collaboration to drive the implementation of the sustainable infrastructure agenda forward. Banobras holds the responsibility to manage the Proyectos México platform, an online platform of the government that includes the main infrastructure and energy projects. Through this cooperation, EMSD and GIZ are contributing to strengthen Banobras’ capacities to implement and scale sustainable infrastructure solutions.


Multistakeholder Initiative to Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions across Regions

The Solutions Lab “Scaling for Sustainable Infrastructure”

Sustainable infrastructure is recognized as key to realizing the SDGs and Paris Agreement. To analyze what hinders uptake of existing solutions and to identify scalable approaches, GIZ and the Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) launched The Solutions Lab. The 8-month process brings together 25 experts from over 15 countries, representing academia, policy, finance and infrastructure development.


Guidelines of Sustainable Infrastructure for Chinese International Contractors (SIG)

The Guidelines of Sustainable Infrastructure for Chinese International Contractors (SIG)

EMSD has supported the China International Contractors Association (CHINCA) to develop the 'SIG'. They guide Chinese international contractors to build infrastructure according to leading sustainability standards, covering five major infrastructure development phases: funding, planning & design, building, operation & maintenance, closure. In June 2017, they were officially launched at the 8th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum in Macau.